Whistleblower & False Claims Act Defense Attorneys

WHISTLEBLOWER AND FALSE CLAIMS ACT DEFENSE

The term “whistleblower” is defined as a person who reports illegal activity, fraud against the government, or other wrongdoing within a company, state agency, or organization. A federal law, called the False Claims Act, allows employees and other whistleblowers to bring a qui tam suit in the name of all taxpayers against companies who have overbilled or defrauded the federal government.

A state-level law, called the California False Claims Act, also encourages state employees and other whistleblowers to combat fraud and illegal activity by bringing claims against companies engaged in wrongdoing. If the whistleblower’s accusations are found to have merit by the government, and the company is subsequently charged, the whistleblower will receive statutory rewards for their courage in combating fraud against the government.

bribes 101

At Bellatrix PC, our experienced business lawyers are committed to defending entities accused of engaging in fraud, overbilling, and other wrongful financial and legal acts. Our legal team balances aggressive client advocacy with strict compliance with all pertinent state and federal laws, and is dedicated to assisting businesses of all structures and sizes. We will walk you through the nuances of the allegations against your entity, devise comprehensive defense strategies, and help your business explore its legal options for resolving the situation as rapidly, efficiently, and cost-effectively as possible.

To start discussing your goals in a completely confidential legal consultation, call Bellatrix PC today at (800) 889-8376.

Whistleblower Confidentiality Under California Law

The plaintiffs in whistleblower lawsuits, or qui tam lawsuits, are often referred to as “relators.” The California Whistleblower Protection Act, which protects the identity of relators, also authorizes the California State Auditor to accept complaints from both California employees and members of the general public who wish to confidentially report unlawful and unethical conduct.

Like the identity of the original relator, the confidentiality of these supplemental complaints is closely guarded. With a few special exceptions for law enforcement agencies conducting criminal investigations, complainants’ identities may not be revealed unless the complainant him- or herself grants permission for disclosure.

What Does the False Claims Act Prohibit?

The False Claims Act prohibits numerous types of fraudulent conduct, with some of the more common examples of prohibited acts including but not limited to:

  • A small business supplying false “minority-owned” certification, with the intention of securing additional government contracts, when the purportedly “minority-owned” business is in fact neither owned nor operated by a minority.
  • A healthcare professional billing Medicaid and/or Medicare for medical procedures, such as surgeries or examinations, which were never actually conducted. Medicare fraud is a widespread problem throughout the United States, with the Office of Management and Budget estimating nearly $48 billion in improper Medicare payments in 2010.
  • A government contractor falsely claiming compliance with federal safety regulations, such as those imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administratin (OSHA), when the pertinent regulations were in fact disregarded by the contractor.
  • A pharmaceutical company which encourages doctors and other healthcare professionals to prescribe patients drugs for uses which have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This tactic is commonly referred to as “off-label” marketing.

Furthermore, California Labor Code Section 1102.5 provides several additional protections for individual employees. Pursuant to Section 1102.5:

(a) Employers are prohibited from creating, adopting, or enforcing any rules, regulations, or policies which would prevent an employees from whistleblowing, provided the employee in question has “reasonable cause” to believe that the information he or she is providing relates to a violation of state or federal laws or regulations.

(b) Employers are prohibited from retaliating against whistleblower employees. Once again, this provision is contingent upon the employee’s “reasonable cause” in believing that a violation or act of noncompliance has occurred or is occurring.

(c) Similarly to the provision of subdivision (b), employers are also prohibited from retaliating against employees who refuse to participate in illegal, unlawful, and unethical acts which violate state or federal laws or regulations.

(d) Employers may not retaliate against an employee for having exercised his or her rights under subdivision (a), (b), or (c) in any former employment.

(e) A report made by an employee of a government agency to his or her employer is a disclosure of information to a government or law enforcement agency pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (b).

Section 1102.5 is designed to protect California whistleblowers’ legal rights. Employers who violate this statute may be subject to civil penalties, as well as additional damages stemming from lawsuits, couched as retaliation, in violation of public policy or wrongful termination in violation of public policy claims.

Contact Our Business Attorneys

If your company has been charged with committing fraud or other violations of the False Claims Act, the California Whistleblowers Protection Act, or Section 1102.5 of the California Labor Code, it is a serious matter which demands immediate attention from an experienced legal professional.

The employment law attorneys of Bellatrix PC represent entities of all structures and sizes, ranging from small start-ups to large and firmly established corporations, and are prepared to handle even highly complex multi-party litigation cases. Don’t wait until it’s already too late to address your legal issue: call the law offices of Bellatrix PC today at (800) 889-8376.

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Business Law

BUSINESS LAW

Disputes, misunderstandings, and litigation impact the health and longevity of your business. Whether you’re the owner of a sole-proprietorship, a partner in a partnership, a member of a limited liability company, or shareholder in a corporation, it is critical to ensure that your entity’s legal and financial interests are being protected by an aggressive and experienced business law lawyer.

At Bellatrix PC, we pride ourselves on providing our clients with responsive, tactical business solutions.  Through critical analysis of the issues at hand, our legal team has repeatedly achieved favorable outcomes for numerous clients across a diverse range of industries and legal structures.  As a results-oriented firm, we aim to resolve complex disputes as rapidly and efficiently as possible, so that you can resume normal operations with clarity and confidence.

To arrange for a private consultation with the commercial attorneys of Bellatrix PC, call our law offices at (800) 449-8992 today.  The sooner you consult with us, the sooner we can get to work addressing your legal matter.

Experienced Business Law Lawyers

Even outwardly simple business transactions can lead to confusion and uncertainty.  Businesses of all structures are subject to myriad state, federal, and municipal regulations, which collectively encompass matters ranging from workplace discrimination to job site safety to the enforceability of non-compete contracts and other contractual agreements.

Even for highly knowledgeable and experienced entrepreneurs, it can be virtually impossible to keep abreast of the business world’s numerous and ever-shifting laws while busy with the daily demands of running a company.  All too many business owners have been unpleasantly surprised by federal investigations, the imposition of civil penalties, and lawsuits by employees, despite believing they were in full compliance with the law.

At Bellatrix PC, we bring a nuanced practical understanding of the full scope of business law to each and every legal matter we handle.  We will listen to your concerns, advise you with regard to your rights and responsibilities as a business owner, and explain the potential outcomes of the courses you could take on the path toward resolving your issue.

Should litigation arise, we are fully prepared to defend your business all the way to trial if necessary.  However, we are also qualified to function as mediators, to represent your company during arbitration, or simply to act as general counsel for your basic, daily questions and concerns.  We will help you understand the benefits and disadvantages of each available legal strategy as it pertains to your matter, so that you can make an informed decision about what’s right for your company.  When you work with Bellatrix PC, you can feel confident that your business is in capable hands.

Representing Partnerships, Corporations, and LLCs: Cases We Handle

As business owners ourselves, we are personally familiar with the seemingly endless complexities which can arise in business and commercial law.  In order to serve our clients effectively, we handle a wide variety of legal matters throughout every stage of the business life cycle, from formation to sale and dissolution.  No matter which point in its life cycle your company has reached, our dedicated attorneys are prepared to counsel you.

We are equipped to handle the full spectrum of commercial matters, including but not limited to the following:

Breach of Contract

  • Contracts act like blueprints, setting clear expectations for all parties to any business agreement.  When a contract is breached by one or more parties’ improper actions or failure to act, the other party or parties can suffer significant financial harm.

Business Formation and Dissolution

  • Selecting the right legal structure is critical for the long-term success of any business.  Likewise, proper dissolution ensures that debts and assets will be distributed appropriately when the company changes hands or reaches the end of its life.

Commercial Litigation

  • All types of disputes can lead to destructive lawsuits.  Whether your company has been accused of breaching a contract, engaging in discriminatory hiring practices, or other alleged misconduct, our attorneys will vigorously defend your business in court.

Contract Drafting and Negotiation

  • Contracts are the foundation upon which all business transactions are built.  We will prepare, review, revise, and aggressively negotiate your contracts with employees and other businesses, ranging from licensing agreements to commercial leases.

Employment Law

  • Whether your company has been named in a gender discrimination lawsuit, needs assistance determining overtime classification and fair payment of wages, or you simply have questions about drafting an employee handbook, our employment law attorneys are here to help.

Trademarks and Intellectual Property

  • Databases, recipes, software, and related information can be a company’s most valuable assets.  We work to protect your intellectual property and trade secrets with clear and enforceable contracts.

Our other areas of practice include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Business Insurance
  • Creditors’ Rights and Debt Collection
  • Hiring, Firing, and Layoffs
  • Independent Contractors
  • Leasing Property and Equipment
  • Libel, Slander, and Defamation
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Minimum Wage and Wage Disputes
  • Non-Competes and Non-Disclosure Agreements
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Payroll, Salary, and Bonuses
  • Permits and Licensing
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Stock Options
  • Tax Compliance
  • Unfair Competition and Unfair Business Practices
  • Whistleblower Lawsuits
  • Workplace Discrimination
  • Wrongful Termination

Whether you’re thinking about starting a company, need assistance resolving a stubborn dispute, or have already been named by a commercial lawsuit, the attorneys of Bellatrix PC have the skill and knowledge to help your business reach its goals.

To schedule a private appointment, call our law offices at (800) 449-8992 today.

What’s Your Problem?

Maybe We Can Help. Request Your Consultation Today.

Alicia Dearn

Alicia I. Dearn is the founder of Bellatrix PC, a woman-owned law firm with offices in Missouri and California. Bellatrix PC handles lawsuits and business transactions. We advise in business, employment, real estate, intellectual property, civil litigation, and election law.


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Disclaimers

The articles published by Bellatrix PC are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal issue, please get competent advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. Use of Bellatrix PC's site is subject to our Attorney Advertising Disclaimers.

Acquisitions and Mergers

ACQUISITIONS AND MERGERS

Multi-million dollar businesses are not built overnight.  Healthy, growing companies are the product of the dedication, perseverance, hard work, and vision of their owners.  While most businesses start out with a small team and minimal capital and resources, there are ways to expedite a company’s growth as the organization increases in size.  One common way to instantly grow is through mergers and acquisitions.

At Bellatrix PC, our experienced business lawyers are committed to helping companies of all structures and sizes maximize their potential through advantageous management decisions.  Our firm will provide your organization with respected and trusted legal counsel, and are prepared to handle matters ranging from basic negotiation of employment contracts to litigation defense.  To arrange for a private legal consultation, call the law offices of Bellatrix PC at (800) 449-8992 today.

businessman with growth chart

What is the Difference Between a Merger and an Acquisition?

In simple terms, an acquisition occurs when Company A purchases all of the assets belonging to Company B.  In some cases, acquisition is effectively an asset purchase.  In other instances, acquisition is a stock purchase, depending on the financial and legal health of the target company.  Legally speaking, the target company no longer exists after an acquisition is complete.

By comparison, a merger occurs when two or more companies agree to go forward as one company.  A famous example is the Daimler-Benz AG and Chrysler Corporation merger of 1998.  After the merger, DaimlerChrysler AG was born. From a legal perspective, both companies continue and form a new company, combining their assets, liabilities and stock into a single entity.  This is arguably the most important distinction between these two growth strategies.

A common term frequently used in M&A discussions is “synergy.”  In a commercial context, the concept of synergy holds that “the value and performance of two companies combined will be greater than the sum of the separate individual parts.”  In other words, the targeted companies both possess valuable attributes which will foster mutual improvements within both organizations.

For example, Mr. Baskin and Mr. Robbins might merge their small ice cream shops together to create one bigger company with less competition and more flavors.  To use another example, an airline might acquire a catering company in order to bring its food service in-house.  The airline is now able to generate additional profits by offering passengers meals where the option had previously been absent, while the catering company benefits by adding a new client to its portfolio.

Legal Factors for Employers to Consider

Employers must consider many important factors at the outset of any deal in which one company is going to merge with or acquire another, including but not limited to matters such as:

  • The logistics of a complete due diligence.
  • Positive and negative tax consequences.
  • Employment law consequences, such as workforce reduction.
  • Stockholder consequences and voting requirements.
  • Negotiation of terms, including purchase price and form of transaction.
  • Practical and logistical considerations regarding the merging of operations, facilities, and technology.
  • Structure of all pertinent legal agreements, including warranties, representations, and indemnification concerns.
  • Executing and filing all required legal documents with the appropriate government agencies.

The legal and financial structure of a merger, acquisition, or other change to company ownership is of critical importance to all invested parties.  Not only does this structure impact the form and liabilities of the ongoing business, it also affects the protections available to the new and former owners, the taxation of each entity and its owners, and even the employment and wage status of the workforce, including situations where no employees are terminated.

When these concerns are not clearly defined and communicated prior to the actual sale, the parties involved may have differing ideas about the extent — or existence — of their liability.  Failure to address each detail of the sale prior to conducting the transaction can create buyer’s remorse in the future, or even destroy the deal completely.  For the sake of avoiding unpleasant surprises and maximizing the efficiency of your transactions, it is prudent to work with an experienced legal team which can help your organization make advantageous business decisions.

Contact Our Business Attorneys

Each commercial transaction has a unique set of challenges and objectives.  The experienced mergers and acquisitions attorneys of Bellatrix PC will counsel you through all specific matters, questions, and concerns you may have.  We understand how important supportive guidance can be to your peace of mind, and will handle all essential elements of your transaction so that you can focus on what you do best: running your company.

If your organization is contemplating a merger, acquisition, sale, or change in ownership, it is essential to seek knowledgeable legal representation.  There are a number of factors which need to be addressed from both the buyer’s and seller’ side, and a qualified attorney can help to ensure that the entire transaction is properly documented and executed.  Remember, failure to address core concerns at the outset of a deal increases the likelihood that costly and time-consuming litigation will become necessary later.

To start exploring your goals and options in a confidential case evaluation, call Bellatrix PC at (800) 449-8992 today. We serve companies and entrepreneurs nationwide, with offices located in St. Louis, San Diego, and Riverside, CA.

What’s Your Problem?

Maybe We Can Help. Request Your Consultation Today.

Alicia Dearn

Alicia I. Dearn is the founder of Bellatrix PC, a woman-owned law firm with offices in Missouri and California. Bellatrix PC handles lawsuits and business transactions. We advise in business, employment, real estate, intellectual property, civil litigation, and election law.


Article Topics


Disclaimers

The articles published by Bellatrix PC are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal issue, please get competent advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. Use of Bellatrix PC's site is subject to our Attorney Advertising Disclaimers.